I'm thoroughly addicted to the British TV show MI-5. I've been making my way through the previous seasons on DVD as I'm not sure it actually airs here in the US right now. After having been left hanging at the end of season six I had to make a special trip to the library this weekend to pick up season seven. Sometimes the shows can be quite a rollercoaster of a ride and the agents tend not to have a very long shelf life. Just when I think I'm settled in the story and the characters' lives, something awful happens or someone retires. I won't deny that Rupert Penry-Jones is very easy on the eyes, but I've just been introduced to Richard Armitage, who is just as swoon-worthy as I've heard. How have I not seen him in anything? I'm having the overwhelming desire all of a sudden to read Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, just so I can see the film adaptation which he starred in. Nothing like hiring someone like Richard Armitage, Rupert Penry-Jones or Rufus Sewell to make the classics sexy! However...that's not why I'm hooked on MI-5 (though I'm certainly not complaining either). There's something very high adrenaline about watching the show--just like reading a really good crime novel or mystery, only you get the visuals in color, too. Compared with the earlier seasons the show has gotten very sophisticated and you sometimes can't tell who is working for whom and who you can trust. I watch very little TV but this is the one show that I will set my reading aside for. Season eight won't be released here on DVD until later in January, so I should probably try and ration my episodes.
Sorry, that was a little digression, since this is supposed to be 'reading' notes. I have been doing lots of reading over my break, but a little movie watching as well. I've finished two books (will write about them in the coming week), and have spent lots of time reading from my stack, and have a few new books lined up as well. My library pile is actually down to a respectable number, I've organized my books according to what I want to finish this year and what will be held over to next, and I even have a 2011 reading list going. All in all I've had a productive and relaxing break. And there is still one more day to go.
I'm going to participate in a blog tour in January. I've been trying to avoid taking part in anything that has a specific posting date attached to it, but the book was so tempting I couldn't say no. Matthew Gallaway's The Metropolis Case is set in the music halls of 1860s Paris and modern day New York. "Matthew Galloway's debut novel gives voice to the sweeping tale of an unlikely quartet, bound together by the strange and spectacular history of Richard Wagner's masterpiece opera Tristan and Isolde." I know zilch about opera, but from what I understand knowledge of opera isn't really necessary to appreciate the story. I am familiar with the story of Tristan and Isolde, though, so I'm curious what sort of spin Gallaway puts on it. The book just came in the mail, and while I don't want to start reading too soon, I am tempted to crack it open and get a little taste of things to come.
Along with starting From the Land of the Moon by Milena Agus, and Heart of the Night by Judith Lennox, I also have dipped into Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. I've wanted to read him for ages. I almost never pick up a science fiction novel, though it has less to do with the fact that I don't like the genre and more that I'm just not very familiar with it. So far I'm really enjoying it, feeling a little like I'm in a game where I don't know the rules, and have to keep reminding myself that this was written in 1968--which makes for interesting going. I'm not sure I'd like all science fiction (just like I don't like all mystery novels), but I wouldn't mind trying some other authors or other books by Philip Dick. Any suggestions?
Since there is still a month left in the year I've not come up with my favorites list, though I have several books in mind. I might yet read something really spectacular, so best not to make it too soon. However 'Best of' lists are starting to pop up. I'll leave you with the 100 Notable Books of 2010 compiled by the New York Times and The Guardian's Books of the Year (as chosen by authors). I've not read a single book on either list (wait, correction--I'm reading the new Lydia Davis translation of Madame Bovary). Does it count that I at least own a few of them?